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Telecom Alert: Rip-and-Replace Rules Adopted; FCC Affirms Fine for Harmful Interference; Form 477 Violations Citation; New Research Test Beds Proposed [Vol. XVIII, Issue 29]

Rip-and-Replace Rules Adopted

The FCC adopted a Third Report and Order last week modifying the Rip-and-Replace program rules (Vol. XVIII, Issue 28).  The new rules expand the eligibility for funding to carriers with ten million or fewer customers and establish prioritization policies in case reimbursement costs exceed the $1.9 billion of available funding.  The rules also allow carriers to seek reimbursement for replacing any equipment produced by Huawei or ZTE, regardless of whether it was paid for with universal service subsidies. 

FCC Affirms Fine for Harmful Interference

Last week the FCC released a Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming an Enforcement Bureau fine against Mobile Relay Associates (“Mobile Relay”) for causing harmful interference to a co-channel licensee operating on a shared channel.  The Commission issued Mobile Relay a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) in 2013 after Mobile Relay received complaints from two co-channel licensees that it was causing interference.  Two years later, the FCC found that Mobile Relay continued to operate nearly continuously on the channel and failed to employ required monitoring equipment to prevent interference.  Mobile Relay must pay a forfeiture of $25,000 for its actions. 

Broadband Provider Issued Form 477 Violations Citation

The FCC issued a Citation and Order last week notifying New Visions Communications, Inc. (“New Visions”) that it failed to file FCC Form 477 twenty-five times and filed it late four times.  Form 477, which facilities-based broadband service providers are required to file twice a year, contains important information such as service speed and subscriber information that the Commission uses to assess the state of broadband availability in the U.S.  New Visions must respond to the Citation and Order within 30 days (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9).

FCC Proposes Boston, Raleigh as new Research Test Beds

The FCC will consider a Public Notice at its August Open Meeting that proposes designating Boston, MA and Raleigh, NC as two new Innovation Zones to allow for advanced wireless communications and network innovation and research.  Innovation Zones are FCC-designated, city-scale test beds managed by the National Science Foundation that extend the geographic areas in which already licensed experimental program licensees can conduct tests.  The designation allows experimental program license holders, which are licensed to operate elsewhere, to also use the Innovation Zones.  The FCC designated New York City and Salt Lake City as the first Innovation Zones in September 2019. 

Gregory E. Kunkle, Casey Lide, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean A. Stokes, and Wesley K. Wright also contributed to this article.

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 201

About this Author


Jaimy “Sindy” Alarcon is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Licensing Specialist.

Sindy works in conjunction with the attorneys in the Telecommunications Practice to prepare FCC applications for clients seeking authority for new services, modifications, administrative updates, license cancellations, Requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA), Requests for Rule Waivers, Assignments of Authorization, Transfers of Control, Renewals, and Notifications of Construction for various radio services including microwave, land mobile, marine...

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

Law Graduate

Jason Chun is a Law Graduate with our Telecommunications practice (not yet licensed to practice law as he awaits admittance under the D.C. Bar's Emergency Examination Waiver).

Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...

Michael T. N. Fitch, Keller Heckman, Wireless Communications Attorney
Senior Counsel

Michael Fitch has over 40 years of experience in wireless, international, infrastructure and other telecommunications regulatory areas.  Mr. Fitch advises clients on a wide range of issues in these areas.

Mr. Fitch began his career at the Federal Communications Commission, where he advanced from staff attorney to Bureau Chief and Senior Legal and International Advisor to the Chairman. He also served as a Presidential Exchange Executive from the FCC to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh for one year.